Rutgers football has its team captains for 2018. Each year, the team votes on the players they feel provide the leadership and drive to keep the team on track for the coming season. We will take a look at each of the players chosen by their peers, as well as look at how well our own Aaron Breitman did with his predictions on who would be chosen.
Gio Rescigno is entering his fourth and final season at Rutgers. Redshirted as a freshman, the senior did not see any action until 2016, his redshirt sophomore season. Gio has appeared in 16 games over the past two seasons, and started as quarterback in 12 of those games. He has thrown for 1406 years, and rushed for an additional 260, with 10 touchdowns scored as a result of that yardage.
Deonte Roberts is a senior who has played in every game since arriving at Rutgers, starting in every game for the past two years, as well as starting against Army as a freshman. The middle linebacker has recorded 211 tackles in that time, and last season ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 43rd nationally with 8.7 tackles per game. A NY native, Deonte was also a team captain in 2017.
A redshirt senior, Tariq has started in all but one game in the past two seasons, and was named as 3rd team Preseason All-Big Ten for 2018 by Athlon Sports. Tariq was also named as honorable mention All-Big Ten in the coaches poll for 2016 and 2017, and also honorable mention All-Big Ten in the media poll last season. The 6’6”, 317 lb. tackle was part of a unit that was first in the Big Ten in 2017, only permitting 1.5 sacks per game. Another NYS native, Tariq is a Long Islander, graduating from Long Beach HS.
Another redshirt senior, Saquan Hampton is a Hamilton, NJ native who played at Nottingham HS. Saquan has started in 15 games in the past three years. He has recorded 112 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception in that time as well. As a sophomore, Saquan was awarded the Douglas A. Smith Award, which is given to the most improved player in spring practice.
A redshirt junior, Jonah Jackson had his first appearance on the field against Washington in 2016 as a blocker in the field goal unit. Since that time, Jonah has also appeared as a member of the protection unit on field goals, as well as appearances at right guard and five starts at center in 2016. He was also part of the offensive line unit that only permitted 1.5 sacks per game, putting them tied for first in the conference in 2016.
A third redshirt senior, Isaiah Wharton has started at every game for his first three seasons on the field at Rutgers. Isaiah has accumulated 146 tackles, andk has had 24 pass breakups, as well as two interceptions. As a redshirt freshman, he was named to the BTN All-Freshman Team. The Kissimmee, FL native was a hero in the Maryland game last season when he guaranteed a win for the Scarlet Knights with a breakup of a fourth down pass in the end zone with less than a minute to play.
How did we do?
Well, I have to give Aaron credit, most of the players chosen by the team were mentioned by him in his article just a week ago. He accurately predicted Tariq Cole and Deonte Roberts, while listing Gio Rescigno, Isaiah Wharton and Saquan Hampton as potential choices as well. So, you could say he sort of predicted five of the six that were elected by their fellow teammates. The only place he really dropped the ball was ignoring the possibility of Jonah Jackson as a captain for 2018. Jonah, if you’re reading this, go easy on Aaron if you meet him, OK?
Additionally, there are another six players he mentioned as candidates to be chosen that were not ultimately selected. Graduate transfer Jonathan Hilliman, redshirt senior tight end Jerome Washington, redshirt senior defensive lineman Kevin Wilkins, senior defensive back Blessuan Austin, senior linebacker Trevor Morris and redshirt senior defensive back Kiy Hester all were mentioned as possible captains by Aaron, and none of them were chosen. So he listed 11 players, of whom six were chosen, so he batted above .500 on this one. Of course, picking 11 players, he was bound to hit a couple. Maybe he should have picked all of the team to be captains?
Aaron chose 11 great possibilities as captain. The players have picked those players who they feel are the ones who best display leadership, tenacity, and are peers they respect. You can’t ask for more than that. The 2018 team captains are a great group of young men, and the team has chosen well in one of their most important decisions heading into the season. Congratulations to Tariq, Saquan, Jonah, Gio, Deonte, and Isaiah on becoming the captains to lead the Scarlet Knights in 2018!